Much has been made of Donovan McNabb's post-game comment that the team "showed our youth a little bit" in Sunday's loss to Dallas.
McNabb clarified the comment Tuesday, saying that in no way was he blaming the loss on the young players. In fact, he says those players are key to the team's success.
"I've never attempted or even tried or will ever throw anyone under the bus. That's just not me. I don't do that," McNabb said. "These young guys are part of the reason why we're in the position that we are. They've made a lot of plays for us all throughout the year and they will continue to make plays for us."
Of course, two of the young playmakers include Pro Bowl receiver DeSean Jackson and rookie wideout Jeremy Maclin, who have combined for 11 catches, 167 yards an no touchdowns in the two regular season games against Dallas.
The big plays that have defined Philadelphia's explosive offense this season have not been there against Dallas, although McNabb and Jackson came close on one last Sunday.
Maclin credits Dallas for its defensive scheme, but says the offense needs to take advantage of its opportunities.
"I think they do a good job of trying to keep everything in front of them," said Maclin, who caught 3 balls for 47 yards Sunday. "When we do have chances, we have to connect on our chances."
Maclin and McNabb failed to connect on a key third-down play early in the second quarter that could have helped tie the game. On third-and-8 from Dallas' 39, McNabb fired a pass that was slightly behind Maclin but could have been caught.
Maclin and McNabb agreed that things like that are uncharacteristic, especially at this point in the season.
"I just think that as a team we kind of got rattled a little bit and kind of got off our gameplan. I don't think it has anything to do with how old you are or how long you've been in the league. I think stuff like that just happens sometimes," Maclin said. "Fortunately for us, we get another chance."
In Tuesday's practice, Maclin said the team was going back to the basics - working on catching, throwing, blocking, etc.
"We've made these plays that we let slip away on Sunday day in and day out in games before," Maclin said.
Though Saturday will mark just the fourth playoff game for Jackson and first for Maclin, McNabb says he has complete confidence in his young receivers.
"What happened last weekend has no bearing on what will happen this week," McNabb said. "This is a whole different ball game. You're in a must-win situation. You win and you go on; you lose, you go home."
-- Posted by Bob Kent, 6:23 p.m., January 5